Can You Drive a Car Without Plates After Buying It?

Can you drive a car without plates after buying it?” is one of the most asked questions due to the confusion that surrounds the answer. According to the Unites States law, it is illegal to drive without number plates, hence some people claim it is outrightly illegal even if you just bought the vehicle. However, others claim you can drive a car without plates under exceptional circumstances.

We’ve checked all the credible sources on this issue and we’ll bring you the right answer and give you more information on car number plates.

Is It Legal to Drive Your Car Without Plates After Buying It?

Yes, it is legal to drive your car without plates after buying it, but you’ll need to show proof of insurance. Also, you’ll need to get temporary license plates provided by the dealership which allow you to drive for a brief period while you get your permanent license plates.

– Driving Without a License Plate

How long can you drive without a license plate? How long you can drive without plates depends on the state in which you live. However, the stipulated period in most states is three days. During the three days, you’re required to get temporary driving plates, after which you’ll be issued permanent ones later.

What happens if you drive without a license plate? When you are caught driving an unregistered vehicle without a plate after the three days, the police officer may issue you a traffic fine and a ticket. Other officers may let you off but not without a stern verbal warning.

However, if your temporary plates exceed their stipulated period and you fail to install permanent plates, then you’ll be in trouble. Also, if you repeat the offense after a verbal warning and a ticket, then you may have your driver’s license suspended.

In some scenarios, your vehicle could be impounded and towed away, whereby you’d have to pay impound fees. The officer may also arraign you before a court.

– What Happens If You Drive Without Registration Tags?

When you drive without registration tags, you attract an on-the-spot fine from a police officer. This is because the registration tags indicate that your vehicle is duly registered while the plates are just to help identify your vehicle in case of theft. Both are legally required.

– Traveling With a Temporary Plate

So far as the temporary plate and tags are valid, you can travel anywhere across the 50 states. However, make sure you keep your eyes on their expiry dates and apply for an extension when their deadlines are near. Better still, ensure you get your permanent plates.

How Can You Acquire Temporary Plates After Buying a New Car?

You can acquire temporary plates after buying a new car by going to the nearest DMV with your driver’s license, proof of vehicle insurance, and the title of your vehicle. Also, be sure to include the invoice from purchasing the car, then follow the next steps.

1. Provide Proof of Insurance

Once the documents mentioned above are set, call up your insurance company to include the new car. This would then provide you with the proof of insurance you need to get a temporary plate.

However, remember to inquire about the type of insurance coverage your state requires. Also, before heading to the Department of Motor Vehicles, be sure to visit their website to find out what other documents are needed to process your plates.

2. Head Over to the Nearest DMV

After getting all the necessary documents, head over to the Department of Motor Vehicle to complete the process. At the DMV, you’ll be required to fill out the certificate of title showing that the car belongs to you. The form will request the make of the vehicle, the year, the VIN and the model of the car, among other requirements.

3. Pay the Necessary Expenses and Wait for Your Plates

When you’re done filling out the form, you’ll be required to pay for the cost of the certificate of title, which should be around $50 depending on your state. Also, you’ll need to pay the taxes associated with getting the plates.

Once you’re done paying, you can head home and wait for the plates to arrive via mail; in other states, you’ll have to go in person. Meanwhile, you can drive your car and show proof of insurance whenever an officer stops you.

How Much Is the Cost of Getting Temporary License Plates?

The cost of getting temporary license plates is usually around $50, but this depends on the state as some costs may be lower or higher. Also, there’ll be additional taxes that you’ll need to pay and these taxes also depend on the value of the car and your state laws.

Is It Possible To Get Car Insurance Without License Plates?

Yes, it is possible to get car insurance without plates because you can buy insurance immediately after you purchase your car. Just call your insurance company and they’ll take it up from there. Then with the proof of insurance, you can get your temporary and permanent plates.

Remember that most states require that you have insurance even if you don’t have number plates yet. However, get the number plates as soon as possible to avoid any law infractions. Also, the insurance covers you and the vehicle when you get involved in an accident.

Can You Buy a Used Car Without License Plates?

Yes, you can buy a used car without plates and if you bought it from a dealership, then they will help you with all the necessary paperwork. However, you may choose to transfer your old number plate to your new vehicle, which is cheaper than buying a new one.

Keep in mind that the old plates must be registered in your name because it is illegal in some states to use a number plate belonging to another person. If you bought your used vehicle from a private seller, then you’ll have to go to your local DMV to get the vehicle registered. Also, the local DMV will help you purchase a new license plate or transfer an old one.

At the DMV you’ll either be given a temporary plate or a temporary permit that allows you to drive while waiting for the permanent number plates. All these come with extra costs which vary from one state to the other, therefore contact your local DMV to know all the costs involved.

– Registering a Used Vehicle from an Independent Seller

When you purchase a vehicle from a seller, you’ll have to go to the DMV to register it. On your way, ensure you have ID cards, proof of insurance, a car title in your name, proof of address, a completed emissions test and vehicle safety inspection test. It would be better to prepare financially by visiting your local DMV’s website to know all the fees and taxes you’ll pay. For instance, you’ll need to pay the used car sales tax, which is about 6 percent in the state of Florida.

You’ll also need to present the bill of sale document which details your name, how much you bought the car, the name of the seller and other fees you paid for the vehicle. This document is what the DMV would need to calculate used car sales tax. If you bought the vehicle out of state, then you’ll need a temporary tag to legally drive the car back to your state. The temporary tag only covers 30 days, which is enough to get a temporary or permanent plate once you’re in your state.

– Is There an Extension for Expired License Plate Stickers?

Yes, there is an extension period for expired license plate stickers which is usually a month. However, the extension applies to certain cars and you’ll need to apply for it before the plate sticker expires. Note that driving with expired plate stickers is illegal.

Frequently Asked Question

– Can You Go to Jail for Not Having a License Plate?

No, you can’t go to jail for not having a license plate, but you’ll be pulled over by the police and given a ticket. In other scenarios, you may have your car impounded. You can reclaim the vehicle by presenting proof of registration, insurance, and a proper plate.

Is it Legal to Drive a Car Without Plates After Buying It?

Is it legal to drive a car without plates after buying it? Many jurisdictions require newly purchased vehicles to have temporary or dealer plates until the permanent ones are issued. Driving without any plates can result in fines or penalties. Remember, parking cars on grass safety is also important to prevent damage to the environment and ensure the safety of pedestrians.


We’ve discovered that it is possible to drive without plates after buying a car and the number of days you are permitted to do that. These are the other lessons we’ve picked up from this article:

  • To drive your new car without a license plate, you’ll need to have proof of insurance which you can show to an officer who stops you.
  • However, you should get your temporary plates within three days of purchasing the vehicle or you’ll have legal problems.
  • You can use the temporary plates between 30 days and 60 days, depending on the state within which you should get your permanent plates.
  • The temporary plates can be issued by the car dealership or at the DMV after a successful vehicle registration.
  • Before visiting the DMV, remember to prepare financially by contacting them to ascertain their various fees and taxes.

Though you can drive a car without plates, you should be working towards getting, at least, a temporary one to avoid infractions.

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